Zehnder Communications, Inc.

Is Your Brand Ready for a Crisis? Ask Yourself These 10 Questions

When crisis strikes, it’s impossible not to have anxiety about the future. But what you shouldn’t have is regret about how you haven’t prepared for this moment in the past.

If your company is well prepared for a crisis, you’ll know that you’ve done everything you can to ready yourself for the situation — so that your team can respond seamlessly when it counts.

Think your brand is ready to handle a crisis situation? Ask yourself these ten questions to see if you’re prepared.

  1. Are key staff members prepared to speak on the company’s policies, procedures, and products? A reporter unexpectedly reaches out to your organization notifying you of a crisis. What do you do? Make sure you have a media policy in place and have prepared staff to handle unexpected inquiries from reporters in person, over email, and through social media.
  2. Have you identified an internal or external crisis expert to handle all media calls in the first 48 hours of a crisis? With expert guidance, your company can respond quickly and effectively, should a crisis occur.
  3. Are your primary spokesperson media trained to handle difficult interviews with confidence? Have you enrolled other potential spokespersons in crisis media training? This component is critical to driving your messaging and connecting when a crisis hits. Does your spokesperson know the key messages, as well of the tone of those messages, that they need to focus on? If the primary spokesperson is out, backups are needed. The last thing you need during a crisis is the inability to respond in timely manner.
  4. Does your social media team have a crisis response plan in place? Social media is often the “first line of defense” in crisis situations. A lag in response, or the wrong response, can be detrimental to your brand.
  5. Do you remove social media posts that are negative? Rather than waiting until disgruntled feedback shows up in your social space, create a plan for handling these situations before they arise.
  6. Have you checked your closet for skeletons? Old mistakes, lawsuits, and secrets can resurface in light of a new story. Prep your team on past issues to avoid harmful flashbacks. No one should be caught by surprise, especially on your own team.
  7. Do you have statements ready to go, right now, for a crisis? If not, creating standby statements with information ready to go to your customers, the media, and the public will save you time when the seconds truly count.
  8. Have you practiced? Imagine different scenarios that could occur, and sketch out a response plan for each. Practice possible scenarios with key staff members.
  9. Do you have an internal and external stakeholder lists in place should a crisis take place? Your staff, management, board of directors, vendors, and key stakeholders would rather hear directly from you rather than seeing a story online first. Transparency is critical, especially to your most valued stakeholders.
  10. Do you have monitoring systems in place? When the crisis comes to a close, you’ll want a clear before-and-after picture. By regularly monitoring your brand image before a crisis begins, you can better measure the impact of the crisis.
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